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Qatar Telecommunications Co QTEL said on Saturday it would begin tender offers for shares in Indonesian telecoms firm PT Indosat on Tuesday to lift its stake to 65 percent, the maximum allowed. Indonesia limits foreign ownership in the telecommunication sector to a maximum of 65 percent for mobile phone operators and 49 percent for fixed-line operators. Two tender offers would begin concurrently in Indonesia and the United States at 7,388 rupiahs ($0.661) per share and would expire on Feb. 18, Qtel said.
GSMA, the global trade body representing the mobile industry, called on Bangladesh to issue 3G licences soon to make broadband services more widely available. Licensing the 2100 MHz spectrum band for 3G services would enable Bangladeshi operators to launch mobile broadband services, which their customers can use to gain fast and easy access to the Internet and online services, it said on Wednesday. Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly, with user numbers reaching more than 45 million at end-September from 200,000 in 2001, while the country has only 1.32 million fixed-line phones. “Laying new fixed-line connections is expensive and inefficient, so high-speed mobile networks are Bangladesh’s best bet to realise the many social and economic benefits that arise from widespread access to broadband services,” said Ricardo Tavares, senior vice president for public policy at the GSMA.
A wave of economic gloom is expected to hit mobile phone buyers next year, and more and more analysts predict the once-buoyant market will shrink for the first time since the 2001 crash, a Reuters poll shows. On average, analysts expect global growth to be 3 percent in both the fourth quarter and in 2009, compared with well above 10 percent in recent years. Eight out of 22 analysts said they expected the market to contract next year. In a similar poll just a month ago, only one analyst out of 23 expected 2009 market sales volumes to fall, and then only slightly. For the fourth quarter, analysts expect the market to grow 11.